Over the past few months here on the site, we've seen several regular commenters say they still enjoy going out to RFK Stadium with family, friends, and fellow supporters despite the difficult opening to the season. And why not? One of the great things about soccer is that it is a pastime/passion best enjoyed in the company of others.
We here at Black and Red United want to help you enjoy a game with family and friends, so we are giving away four tickets to the Jun. 15th D.C. United match against Toronto FC. You'll enjoy these tickets, right on the midfield line in Sec 206 (two pairs of tickets actually, with one pair behind the other, one row back ).
All you have to do to enter is share your favorite memory of watching soccer with family or friends. As you know, if you aren't already a member of B&RU, you'll have to join the site to post a comment (but it's painless, really). At the end of the contest period, next Tuesday (June 11) at noon, we will randomly select a comment using the B&RU random number generator, and that commenter will win four tickets to the DCU vs TFC game on Saturday, Jun. 15. For official rules on the comment-to-win giveaway, click HERE. We will only be counting one comment per person as an entry, but feel free to comment as often as you'd like.
Remember, by entering you are agreeing to abide by the official rules of the contest. The contest ends promptly at noon next Tuesday, so post your favorite memories soon!
So, while I can't win the tickets (see the rules), here's my Top 5 soccer memories including family and friends.
5. Seeing Pele and the New York Cosmos play. My earliest soccer memory is going to see the New York Cosmos and Pele play in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1976 against Team Japan. My two brothers and I were in grade school, and had never played organized soccer. Our Dad had been introduced to the game in the Service, so when he had the chance to take us all to see the great Pele play, he made sure we were there. I don't remember a lot about the game, other than that it was a blowout win for the Cosmos and that my Dad remembers Pele scoring on a bicycle kick, but I clearly remember the excitement of seeing the greatest player in the world. Later that year, after moving back to the continental US, all of us got involved formally in soccer, with me and my brothers playing for many years, and our Dad coaching and being a state youth administrator. To this day, all of us remain big soccer fans, and I remain a closet Cosmos fan. I'm sure it's verboten for a D.C. United fan to like anything New York related when it comes to soccer, but count me among those sorely disappointed, and highly perplexed, that Major League Soccer and the Cosmos haven't figured out a way to get the most historic name in American soccer back into America's tier 1 league. I'm fine with Manchester City and the New York Yankees being involved with New York City FC as MLS team #20, but I hope one day to see the green jerseys of the Cosmos in MLS as well.
4. 2005 MLS Goal of the Year. My family and I lived in Southern California for one year back in the mid-2000s. During that time, we went to four professional sporting events. We got pretty lucky, because one of those games was Kobe Bryant's 81-point effort on Jan. 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors. The other game we were lucky to see was the LA Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 15, 2005. Although the Galaxy would go on to win the MLS Cup, on this night they were beat by the Supporters' Shield winners, San Jose, behind an awesome set piece goal by Dwayne De Rosario that was awarded the 2005 MLS Goal of the Year. For my Dad, son, and I, it was our first visit to a soccer-specific stadium, and a great display of individual talent.
3. 1996 Olympics at RFK Stadium. According to Wikipedia, the most fans ever at RFK Stadium for a single sporting event was on Jul. 24, 1996, when 58,102 showed up to see the United States take on Portugal in Olympic pool play. That was the year the Olympics were in Atlanta, and the soccer competition was spread out over five cities in the southeast. I was fortunate to be at this match with my Dad, older brother, and a good friend from here in DC. The US was in Group A with Argentina, Portugal, and Tunisia. After losing to Argentina, and beating Tunisia, the US had to beat Portugal to advance to the knockout stages. In an electric atmosphere at RFK, the US went down in the first half to a Portuguese goal, but the Americans pressured the remainder of the game, finally getting the equalizer in the 78'. Despite getting a few good chances, the Americans were unable to net the game winner, and ended up drawing the match and not moving on in the tournament. Although we spent the entire match next to some rabid Portugal fans (who it must be said were great guys and fun to talk to), it was a fantastic (if disappointing) night of soccer.
2. 2002 World Cup Knockout Games. This is a big week at our house. Our oldest child is graduating high school this Saturday (that's him above). When he was much younger, we had one of our best soccer memories when we watched the United States play Mexico and Germany in the knockout stages of the 2002 World Cup. In a decision that is sure to set me up for parent-of-the-year consideration, my then-first grade son and I got up at 1:30AM on Monday, Jun. 17, while living in Montgomery, Alabama, to watch the US handily beat Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16. This was during the period when the US was starting to own Mexico, and we certainly did on that day. How long has Landon Donovan been a great player for the US? Well, he scored against Mexico in this game and was named the best young player of the 2002 World Cup. A few days later, on Friday, Jun. 21, we got up at 6:30AM to watch the US play Germany in the quarterfinals. I don't know that I've ever been prouder of an American team then after that match, because we flat outplayed Germany that day (a German team that would go on to reach the finals against Brazil). Unfortunately, Michael Ballack scored on a set piece, there was a missed handball call on the goal line that would've given the US a penalty shot (and maybe resulted in a red card against Germany), and German goalie Oliver Khan was awesome--all resulting in the US falling 1-0 in a horribly disappointing result. If you've never seen this game, go find it somewhere now (here are the highlights). While not the result we wanted, my son and I shared it together and it's still a great memory.
1. D.C. United vs Columbus Crew. While the 2013 season has been disappointing for D.C. United fans, let's not forget how incredible the end of last year was. On Oct. 20, 2012, D.C. United faced Columbus with a playoff spot on the line in front of sellout crowd at RFK. With a result, D.C. United would secure its first playoff spot in five years, while Columbus had to win to make the playoffs. On this night, my son, daughter, and I sat together and enjoyed the fantastic atmosphere and entertaining game while my wife photographed the match for Black and Red United. Battling back from one goal deficits twice during the match, D.C. United won the game on a very late counterattack by LEWIS NEAL. We lingered a long time after this game with our fellow fans enjoying United's success--success that would continue into the first round off the MLS playoffs as D.C. United dispatched the hated New York Red Bulls in the famous storm games.
Share with us your best soccer memories involving family and friends for a chance to win tickets to the D.C. United match against Toronto on Jun. 15.